Small Business Champion Award
14 November 2013

The True Face of Shisanyama

scoops the 2013 NSBC Champion Award


Imbizo Shisanyama aka ‘Busy Corner,’ a specialist African cuisine restaurant based in Ebony Park , Tembisa scooped the National Small Business Champion Award at a prestigious awards ceremony held at The Venue in Melrose Arch on the 7th of November 2013. The awards presented by the National Small Business Chamber pay tribute to the important role that entrepreneurs and SMEs play in the development and growth of the South African economy. Growing in recognition this year’s awards drew thousands of entries from all over South Africa.

Rita Zwane, founder and managing director of Imbizo Shisanyama was clearly over-joyed when receiving the award. “Organisations like the National Small Business Chamber are no longer a luxury but imperative for the social and economic freedom of South Africans and an essential enabler of job creation. It is a well-known fact and something that is strongly endorsed and supported by our Government that SMEs form the backbone of our economy,” she said.

The story behind the success of this hidden gem in Jozi, Imbizo Shisanyama aka ‘Busy Corner,’ has inspired many of the youth in Rita’s own community to pursue their dreams. Since its establishment in 1997 Rita has taken great pride in celebrating the African culture and lifestyle and draws inspiration from the great African identity and traditions.

When asked about her secret to success, Rita answers clearly: “Without the support of my family, community, staff and the generous support of our loyal patrons over the past 16 years, Imbizo Shisanyama aka ‘Busy Corner’ would not be recognised as the Face of Shisanyama today. This support has resulted in the natural commercialisation of our famous African dish - ipapa in real style, class and dignity.”

Established in a container on a street corner in Ivory Park in 1997 and with only a single pot, gas griller, display fridge, gas paraffin stove and only two employees the concept of Africa’s Ultimate Braai Experience was born and today Shisanyama has become one of the biggest growth areas in the food, beverage and hospitality sectors in South Africa.

After starting out with only two employees the business now employs over 54 permanent staff members and involves the surrounding community in the everyday running of the business. The unique business model does not simply create jobs on a face value level but is built on a solid foundation of sustainable business practices that will have a lasting impact. The business makes a significant impact on the growth and development of the entire surrounding community through encouraging the development of local SMEs that are used to outsource a variety of business needs such as its security, cleaning requirements, the car wash and even the supply of various side dishes like the famous chakalaka.

When asked about the future vision of Imbizo Shisanyama aka ‘Busy Corner’ Rita’s is clear: “to make Shisanyama the official African cuisine in the food and beverage industry and then to take Africa’s Ultimate Braai Experience to the rest of Africa and the world.”

Launching the franchising strategy of this much loved brand is anticipated for 2014 with investors from right across Africa already lining up.

“With the support that small businesses are getting from organisations like the NSBC and various Government policies and programmes aimed at assisting entrepreneurs and SME's to expand their businesses the continued success and growth of Imbizo Shisanyama is inevitable,” concludes Rita.

There is no doubt with Rita at the helm of the Imbizo Shisanyama ship that sailing across the seas is an African dream that will soon be realised.